MPAA Rating: R
for strong violence and pervasive obscenity
Studio: Lionsgate Films
Runtime: 118 minutes
Directed by: Patrick Hughes
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Gary Oldman
The Hitman’s Bodyguard is a no-holds barred, shoot-em-up, slam bang action film. That’s what American film-goers seem to like these days as the audience cheered at the screening I attended. That’s what we’re dealing with in this comedy-action film from director Patrick Hughes (The Expendables 3).
Ryan Reynolds plays Michael Bryce, a grade A protection agent with his own business. He’s assigned to protect various executives around the world from assassins and other baddies. It’s all top-shelf business, and he has sustained a good reputation. He can be counted on to protect his man.
When Bryce is asked to protect a notorious hitman and take him from London to the International Court of Justice in the Hague, the fun begins. Darius Kinkaid (Samuel L. Jackson) is Bryce’s mortal enemy, and they would just as soon kill each other. Bryce thinks Kinkaid has killed 150 people, but the hitman boasts, “More like 250!”
Reynolds and Jackson are a good “buddy” team and their differences evolve into hilarious one-liners and impossible situations of danger. The minute they connect, all mayhem breaks loose. Putin-like president of Belarus (the dangerous Gary Oldman) is out to kill Kinkaid. He, of course, is the man Kinkaid is going to testify against in the world court. Oldman plays great villain parts and makes for a terrifying Russian-style thug. Special makeup designed by artist David Malinowski makes Oldman look especially villainous.
The mad chases begin and the duo is pursued through the canals of Amsterdam at breakneck speed, and the boat maneuvers are spectacularly exciting! One chase leads to another, and soon they are on the streets from Manchester, England to the Hague. The stunt men deserve praise for their hair-raising car stunts, crashes, near-misses, jumps, and spin-outs that keep the action propelling at sound barrier speeds. Fantastically adrenalin-pumping are the near-misses and car-rolling scenes that keep us from catching our breath.
Dressed in a neat suit Reynolds originates a good bodyguard all. He’s droll, funny, and attractive as he sometimes tries to get rid of his charge. Samuel Jackson seemingly relishes his role of the out of control assassin. He’s having the best time chewing up the scenery. He is allegedly a graduate of the Shout and Yell School of Acting. There isn’t a line of dialogue that he spits out that isn’t at top volume. He knows nothing about speech modulation. But at least he seems to thoroughly enjoy his over-the-top characterization.
By far, the winner of the scene-stealing award goes to Salma Hayek. Her role is almost a cameo. She plays Kinkaid’s incarcerated wife. She belongs to the old Lupe Velez Spanish Spitfire ensemble, playing a fiery Hispanic bombshell that can belt men with her fists like the best of them. She is hilarious, bombastic, terrorizing, and definitely loveable. She’s hot, she’s a blast, and she’s terrific.
The entire picture is an entertaining hoot. There is lots of comedy between the two leading men, and the action scenes are superb, however, as a note of caution; the language is bluer than blue, so it may curl your hair.